flower of Nelumbo nucifera at Botanic Garden, ...

A wise friend states “you can’t give what you don’t possess.”  Doesn’t that make so much sense to you as you read these words?  And, as I contemplated further it has so many facets.  We can relate it to our physical, emotional, mental or spiritual  resources  and more.  My friend offered this wisdom in a spiritual context.   However we think about it, we need to consistently care for ourselves as we are caring for others.  Easier said than done! We don’t want to let people down.  But it’s a basic law of nature:  if we move stones from one pile to another eventually the first pile will be depleted unless we restock.  If we offer nurturence to others we need to be open enough to receive something back. As I write these words the question, “What is the consequence ?” pops in my head.

When I mentioned this topic to  a longtime customer, now friend, she unhesitatingly said, “I know about that!”  Yes, she does.  Over the years there have been times we might have lost this perky, bright-eyed woman to major illnesses.  I think for each of us the consequence to “not receiving” is going to be different for all kinds of reasons.  And, our bodies will let us know in small ways that if  go unaddressed become more significant.   But, when does receiving in become taking more than is our share – becoming a taker vs. a giver?  When do we turn the corner to self-involved and self –centered?  How do we know what we know what we truly require?  Often helping others is exactly what feeds me.  One of the most meaningful quotes I’ve read is when the Dali Lama was asked to describe what he does, he answers (and I’m paraphrasing)  “I take care of myself.”  Yet, none of us would describe the devoted work and life of this enlightened being as selfish, more like selfless.  For this particular being the offering out is nourishing.Dalai Lama

I think we do know in our hearts the balance of receiving and giving that is necessary for us to live a joy-filled and healthy life of connection with ourselves and others. We need to turn inside and listen to the still small voice that unerringly guides us.  And, if we can’t hear or don’t heed that voice our bodies will tell us with an ache here and a pain there.

Luahn is a  co-founder of JoiaBeauty and has a passion for practicing and teaching Yoga.